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Computer Science and Economics
Voorhees NJ

Oddball overlap

(January 31 2007) Written by: Arthur Johnston in Coursework

One of the neatest things about higher level classes is the amount of connectedness some of them have. Certain concepts show up again and again. Now obviously you expect this within any given field, most economics classes lean toward favoring free trade because that is where the research and results have led us. What is weird is when two completely different fields have something overlap.

In Corporate Finance the other day we were looking at a problem that many managers face. Given a fixed amount of money to spend today and a number of projects which have a certain cost today and will give you a certain amount of money in the future, which projects do you take to make the most money tomorrow. If this sounds fairly simple let me restate it another way.

Given a certain weight limit and multiple items all with weights and values how do you maximize the value.

What I just stated was a (simplified) version of the knapsack problem, which is a problem that there is no known way to solve for all cases. What makes it cool is that in my Genetic Algorithm class we are working on a way of solving the problem. Mind you all of this happened without me planning it or even thinking about it until it happened. I'm happy to enjoy to overlap.

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